Expert predicts ‘Monsoon Britain’

Guest post by Paul Homewood

Prof. Stuart Lane

h/t Robuk

A study, by Professor Stuart Lane of Durham University back in 2008, appears to have been remarkably percipient. Written just after the extremely wet summer of 2007, the study suggests that, far from summers in the UK becoming drier as most climate models predict, they are likely to become wetter.

Lane makes the following points.

  • The wetter weather in 2007, and which he forecasts will continue to be the pattern, is the result of the movement of the jet stream onto a more southerly track. (This, of course, is exactly what happened in 2012).
  • The period 1960-90 was an unusually dry one, especially compared to the 19th and early 20thC.
  • Three-quarters of our flood records start in the flood-poor period that began in the 1960’s. As a result, the frequency of flooding has been underestimated, leading to building on flood plains, etc.
  • Examining seasonal rainfall data and river flow patterns back to 1753, suggests many other “flood-rich periods” in the past which are comparable to now.
  • We have forgotten “just how normal flooding is in the UK”.
  • Linking heavier rainfall to global warming was wrong.

News Release

Last summer was the second wettest on record and experts who have studied rainfall and river flow patterns over 250 years say we must prepare for worse to come. Professor Stuart Lane, from Durham University’s new Institute of Hazard and Risk, says that after about 30 to 40 less eventful years, we seem to be entering a ‘flood-rich’ period. More flooding is likely over a number of decades.

Prof. Lane, who publishes his research in the current edition of the academic journal Geography, set out to examine the wet summer of 2007 in the light of climate change. His work shows that some of the links made between the summer 2007 floods and climate change were wrong. Our current predictions of climate change for summer should result in weather patterns that were the exact opposite of what actually happened in 2007. The British summer is a product of the UK’s weather conveyor belt and the progress of the Circumpolar Vortex or ‘jet stream’. This determines whether we have high or low pressure systems over the UK. Usually the jet stream weakens and moves northwards during spring and into summer. This move signals the change from our winter-spring cyclonic weather to more stable weather during the summer. High pressure systems extend from the south allowing warm air to give us our British summer.

In 2007, the jet stream stayed well south of its normal position for June and July, causing low pressure systems to track over the UK, becoming slow moving as they did so. This has happened in summer before, but not to the same degree. Prof. Lane shows that the British summer can often be very wet – about ten per cent of summers are wetter than a normal winter. What we don’t know is whether climate change will make this happen more in the future.

However, in looking at longer rainfall and river flow records, Prof. Lane shows that we have forgotten just how normal flooding in the UK is. He looked at seasonal rainfall and river flow patterns dating back to 1753 which suggest fluctuations between very wet and very dry periods, each lasting for a few years at a time, but also very long periods of a few decades that can be particularly wet or particularly dry. In terms of river flooding, the period since the early 1960s and until the late 1990s appears to be relatively flood free, especially when compared with some periods in the late 19th century and early 20th Century.

As a result of analysing rainfall and river flow patterns, Prof. Lane believes that the UK is entering a flood rich period that we haven’t seen for a number of decades. He said: “We entered a generally flood-poor period in the 1960s, earlier in some parts of the country, later in others. This does not mean there was no flooding, just that there was much less than before the 1960s and what we are seeing now. This has lowered our own awareness of flood risk in the UK. This has made it easier to go on building on floodplains. It has also helped us to believe that we can manage flooding without too much cost, simply because there was not that much flooding to manage.” He added: “We have also not been good at recognising just how flood-prone we can be. More than three-quarters of our flood records start in the flood-poor period that begins in the 1960s. This matters because we set our flood protection in terms of return periods – the average number of years between floods of a given size. We have probably under-estimated the frequency of flooding, which is now happening, as it did before the 1960s, much more often that we are used to. “The problem is that many of our decisions over what development to allow and what defences to build rely upon a good estimate of these return periods.

The government estimates that 2.1 million properties and 5 million people are at risk of flooding. In his review of the summer floods Sir Michael Pitt was wise to say that flooding should be given the same priority as terrorism.” Professor Lane concluded: “We are now having to learn to live with levels of flooding that are beyond most people’s living memory, something that most of us have forgotten how to do.”

Flooding is one of the issues covered by the Institute of Hazard and Risk Research at Durham University where Prof. Lane is a resident expert. The IHRR, which launches this week, is a new and unique interdisciplinary research institute committed to delivering fundamental research on hazards and risks and to harness this knowledge to inform global policy. It aims to improve human responses to both age-old hazards such as volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and floods as well as the new and uncertain risks of climate change, surveillance, terror and emerging technologies. Prof. Lane’s research is funded by the Willis Research Network, an innovative collaboration between universities worldwide and the insurance industry, and The UK Research Councils’ Rural Economy and Land Use Programme.

http://www.dur.ac.uk/news/newsitem/?itemno=6468

Perhaps Julia Slingo should read this paper.

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Mike Bromley the Canucklehead back in Kurdistan but actually in Switzerland

What part of “FLOODPLAIN” was not immediately clear? They didn’t call it a “droughtplain” or a “builder’s paradise”, did they. All the climate change-panicked pundits should just take a remedial course in geomorphology in order to cement the variability of the climate in their noggins.

Patrick Hrushowy

Is it possible that a similar shift in the jet stream track has altered percipitation patterns on the west coast of North America? And follows the same kind of shift between wet and dry?

Ian W

One has to congratulate the warmists that the use of the term ‘climate change’ is now automatically associated in ones head with Anthropogenic Global Warming. So this study appears to make no mention of AGW but by using the term ‘climate change’ it is implied. Agenda 21 Newspeak.
The Great Famine of 1315-1322 was caused by continual rain at the end of the Medieval Warm Period as the Earth cooled into the Little Ice Age. We may be at a similar point now as we exit the 20th century warm period into a cooler period. If it becomes a minimum to the depth of the Maunder minimum then the Institute of Hazard and Risk Research will have plenty to do.

It seems from the summary an excellent piece of work, but prediction based on perceived past patterns without understanding the underlying causes isn’t science. Which is not to say his prediction won’t prove correct.

Pingo

Don’t expect the beeb to report this!

I wonder how much rain fell in Britain in 1315 during The Wolf Minimum, which was also the start of The Great Famine and The Little Ice Age?

Dragon's Hunab

Interesting story, but it really won’t matter what the content is. Anytime there’s a change in the weather (READ: Always) the AGW people will say it verifies global warming. And it’s still a climate prediction and as susceptible to error as any other.

It simply astounds me that in our thousands of years of living experience we are so easily seduced from or are so ignorant of our past and lessons so freely available.

English long term summer temperatures have been remarkably consistent
For 350 years the average Central England summer temperatures were showing no increase whatsoever oscillating between 14 and 16.5 degrees C, with a zero trend.
During the same 350 year period the winters have warmed up by a meager 1 degree C.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MidSummer-MidWinter.htm

pat

what to make of this, anthony?
26 Jan: Sydney Morning Herald: AFP: Cities affecting weather in faraway places: study
Heat from large cities alters local streams of high-altitude winds, potentially affecting weather in locations thousands of kilometres away, researchers say.
The findings could explain a long-running puzzle in climate change – why some regions in the northern hemisphere are strangely experiencing warmer winters than computer models have forecast…
This phenomenon, known as the “urban heat island”, has been known for years, but until now has mainly been thought to affect only city dwellers, especially in summer heatwaves.
But a team of scientists in the United States, using a computer model of the atmosphere, point to impacts that go much further than expected.
The high concentration of heat rises into jet-stream winds and widens their flow, transporting heat – as much as 1C – to places far away…
The effect on global temperatures, though, is negligible, accounting for an average warming worldwide of just 0.01C…
The study appears in the journal Nature Climate Change.
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/cities-affecting-weather-in-faraway-places-study-20130128-2dfk9.html

Mike Bromley the Canucklehead back in Kurdistan but actually in Switzerland says:
January 27, 2013 at 12:48 pm.
Geomorphology (from Greek: γῆ, ge, “earth”; μορφή, morfé, “form”; and λόγος, logos, “study”) is the scientific study of landforms and the processes that shape them.(wiki) While all information is useful, I’m not clear how a knowledge of Geomorphology is directly pertinent to understanding the variability of climate. (no snark intended).
It’s also of interest to note that, certainly in Europe, the years directly after the end of the Napoleonic Wars were notable for very wet weather, with famine and food shortages rampant throughout Europe. This would have been about the time when the LIA started to change into a warming period. Could it be that heavy precipitation is one of the signals of a change in climate ? I am a bear of very little brain on this, so would appreciate a heavyweight view.

john robertson

Who made the decision to ignore floods from before 1960?
I thought England had records back to the 1300s, of conditions inside the boroughs.
Basing public policy on a history of floods cut off at 1960 defies all logic,do I misunderstand?

Per Strandberg (@LittleIceAge) says:
January 27, 2013 at 1:06 pm
I wonder how much rain fell in Britain in 1315 during The Wolf Minimum, which was also the start of The Great Famine and The Little Ice Age?

1314 A.D. In 1314 [in England], it rained almost ten months continually, but during July and August, the rains were incessant. The husbandmen [farmers] could not get in the small crop they had on the ground, and what they got in, the yield from it was very small. Hence there was a grievous famine in 1315 that lasted two years and from it most mortal dysentery. So that it was drudgery on the surviving to bury the dead. Cattle and beasts being corrupted by the grass whereon they fed and then died; hence people dreaded eating their flesh. Only horseflesh was a delicate dish. The poor stole fat cats to eat.

“A Chronological Listing of Early Weather Events 6th Edition” James A. Marusek (2010)
http://www.breadandbutterscience.com/Weather.pdf

DaveG

I own a beautiful Stone cottage just below Harlech Castle in Gwynedd North Wales The castle walls used to be feet away from Cardigan Bay.The sea originally came much closer to Harlech than in modern times, and a water-gate and a long flight of steps leads down from the castle to the former shore, which allowed the castle to be resupplied by sea during sieges. over the years the sea level dropped leaving the Castle high and dry, miles from the bay and its beaches.
UNESCO considers Harlech to be one of “the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe”
Here is my Dilemma do I sell the cottage or rise it up in sticks to avoid the ocean in rush from the predictions and the coming end times???
Sarc off.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlech_Castle
http://www.castlewales.com/harlech.html

“This has lowered our own awareness of flood risk in the UK.”
First, you can bet there were old grouches who remembered wetter times, saying “Don’t build there.” Second, there were slick builders saying, “I have a charming lot for you to build your dream cottage upon.”
The buyer beware. Keep your awareness high.

lemiere jacques

causality?
god…
someone will be right for sure.
You should try to predict who predicted right.

Philip

Difficult to make sense of the recent fuss over UK rainfall and flooding, and well done to Paul Homewood for continuing to highlight the issue.
Presumably the facts are according to the UK rainfall data on the Met Office site? A small increasing trend since 1800. A larger increase since 1960, but comparable to increases seen over several periods since 1800. An increase in winter rainfall during 1850-1950, but nothing obviously different since then. Google easily turns up a credible study of UK flooding published in 2002, concluding no obvious trends.
But the Met Office press releases largely concentrate on the increasing period from 1960 without bothering to point out the longer term behavior! These press releases seem designed to mislead, I can’t think how else to interpret them. I tell you, if I lived in Tunbridge Wells I would be well and truly disgusted, and I would certainly insist on my money back (if only I could).

pat says:
January 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm
This phenomenon, known as the “urban heat island”………The high concentration of heat rises into jet-stream winds and widens their flow….
Not certain about the large cities, but I think there is no doubt that the northern latitudes volcanic eruptions do that:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NH.htm

John West

Sydney Morning Herald: (via pat)
” transporting heat – as much as 1C – to places far away…The effect on global temperatures, though, is negligible, accounting for an average warming worldwide of just 0.01C…
Yes, averaged over the entire surface it (and UHI effect in general) is negligible, too bad we don’t measure temperature that way; we measure at the effect and then pretend we don’t.

Truthseeker

“We have forgotten “just how normal flooding is in the UK”.”
I think that alarmism relies on some sort of collective Alzheimer’s, where the inconvenient past is forgotten …

pat says:
January 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm
what to make of this, anthony?
26 Jan: Sydney Morning Herald: AFP: Cities affecting weather in faraway places: study
Heat from large cities alters local streams of high-altitude winds, potentially affecting weather in locations thousands of kilometres away, researchers say.
The findings could explain a long-running puzzle in climate change – why some regions in the northern hemisphere are strangely experiencing warmer winters than computer models have forecast…
This phenomenon, known as the “urban heat island”, has been known for years, but until now has mainly been thought to affect only city dwellers, especially in summer heatwaves.
But a team of scientists in the United States, using a computer model of the atmosphere, point to impacts that go much further than expected.”
Read that last sentence. Computer Model says it all. Who programmed it and what parameters did they use.

Pat:
But a team of scientists in the United States, using a computer model of the atmosphere, point to impacts that go much further than expected.
The high concentration of heat rises into jet-stream winds and widens their flow, transporting heat – as much as 1C – to places far away…
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Yet another MODEL. Where are the measurements to demonstrate this “model”?
Models of models of models – does no one actually measure anything anymore?
As an engineer we used to do flood frequency calculations then go out in the field to look for flood evidence at the levels we predicted to check our calculations. Doesn’t anyone leave the office anymore?

David

Wetter but not monsoon? As I understand it a monsoon can only happen on a large landmass when the interior heats and convection sucks in wet maritime air.

Latitude

This has made it easier to go on building on floodplains
==================
swampland in Florida

Chuck Nolan

pat says:
January 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm
what to make of this, anthony?
26 Jan: Sydney Morning Herald: …………………………The effect on global temperatures, though, is negligible, accounting for an average warming worldwide of just 0.01C…
The study appears in the journal Nature Climate Change.
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/cities-affecting-weather-in-faraway-places-study-20130128-2dfk9.html
———————
Oh no.
It looks like they’ve found a fifth parameter and they are about to make the elephant’s trunk wiggle.
This could give JH a whole new set of numbers he can work with. You can bet they’ll take control of that number and set it right where they need it.
Oh no.
cn

pochas

We can expect more of the same until the sun wakes up and kicks the jet stream back where it belongs.

Bruce of Newcastle

is the result of the movement of the jet stream onto a more southerly track
Worth mentioning that Prof Mike Lockwood at University of Reading found a link between low solar activity and jet stream blocking, leading to very cold UK winters. Jet stream blocking likewise was the cause of the 2010 Moscow heat wave which occurred only a few months after that BBC article. Such blocking can occur when the Rossby waves become more sinuous and extend further away from the poles than usual (btw, the last link is very relevant to Paul’s post about wet summers in the UK).
As we know, the Sun is in its weakest cycle at least since the Dalton minimum, and possibly since the Maunder minimum.
Our recent heatwave here in Australia may also have been a similar blocking event since there was a big, presumably blocking, high in the Tasman sea, behind which the continent heated and we broke all time historical temperature records in my town.

Rhoda R

Looks like the warmists are getting ready to spin the UHIE to their advantage. It’s not big enough to affect global temps but it IS big enough to affect the jet stream. Wow…..

“Perhaps Julia Slingo should read this paper.”
In my opinion Julia can get away with not reading anything at all. She just make things up as she goes along and gets away with it. – In front of a commitee of MPs she said that the question about the “Hockeystick” had been resolved – and nobody asked her what that particular resolvement was.
So she made a hook for herself – and noone hung her on it.

banjo

Being `thoroughly` scientific;) I did an extremely local image search for flooding (within a couple of streets from where i live).Then filtered them first for colour,then for black and white.
Monochrome returned 20 images,Dating 1900, 1957 and 1970
Colour returned just 4 none relating to the area.
I conclude, that the chaps on to something.
I also conclude that the phrase `Great Flood` can be used by a local rag to shift more copy.
There`s only one comment under the slide show,by a bloke called `cabbie`and i strongly suspect he`s one of us 🙂
http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/lifestyle-news/coventry-history/nostalgia/2011/01/13/coventry-s-great-flood-of-1900-92746-27980064/

Eastern Australia is having an extraordinarily wet & stormy January at the moment with mini tornadoes and awful flooding. However, this happened around the same time in 1974 I think and I got flooded out of the mountains behind Sydney when it should have been warm & dry. AT the same time as the monsoonal wet has diverted itself to Australia’s E coast, the regular wet monsoon itself has failed to arrive in the Northern Territory and people are sweltering in unaccustomed humid heat. Way down South in Adelaide, near the freezing Southern Ocean, we are getting summer temperatures in the upper 40s – unheard of for many decades and seemingly in higher frequency than ever recorded. Bushfires are raging all over the place, killing vast quantities of wildlife, stock animals and ruining homes and livelihoods. This cyclical pattern or climate change or whatever, is NOT making anyone happy!

Phil Bradley – Prediction based on perceived past patterns most certainly is science – The human brain is much better than computers at perceiving patterns. A good empirical correlation is the fastest path towards sorting out and understanding the underlying mechanisms. If you start assuming that you know the underlying mechanisms you grossly overestimate your level of knowledge – this is in fact the basic problem with the IPCC models – they are structurally wrong.
For an example of a prediction of global cooling based on just such a comparison see my post at
http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2013/01/global-cooling-timing-and-amountnh.html
Compare for example the Steinhilber et al ( Fig 3) cosmic ray intensity graph with the Christiansen and Ljungqvist (fig 5) temperature reconstruction – it shows you where to start looking for mechanisms while providing a testable prediction of future temperatures which I believe is more likely accurate than all the expensive climate models which are inherently untestable because of their complexity and number of variable perameters.
Per Strandberg – Incidentally the 1315 event and the Wolf minimum shows up nicely on both figures referred to above.

banjo

Truthseeker says:
January 27, 2013 at 2:17 pm
“We have forgotten “just how normal flooding is in the UK”.”
I think that alarmism relies on some sort of collective Alzheimer’s, where the inconvenient past is forgotten …
Honestly Truthseeker,i can sit with the `ancients` in my family and they always tell me,`It was colder/dryer/wetter,hotter/more expensive when i was your age!`…and of course they were mostly right:)
But they don`t have an agender,the msm usually does;)

John

Wayne Dek….. Ask the engineers who designed the 787 Dreamliner. One costly computer model AGW fighting waste of flying lithium battery (?) mistake. This plane will cost Boeing dearly. So sad another CAGW failure. Lets hope it does not kill the whole company. The batteries will never work and risk management better not play a numbers game and send them back out before the problem is truly fixed if it is even possible.
Little off topic so to the point – computer models are GIGO.

William Astley

As planetary temperature has not changed significantly in 16 years the observed sudden increase in rainfall in the UK is likely not due to AGW.
There appears to be a significant solar magnetic cycle change underway. There is in the paleoclimatic record cycles of sinusoidal and cyclic abrupt cooling correlate with a solar magnetic cycle changes.
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/Ap.gif
http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/BondPap.pdf
A Pervasive Millennial-Scale Cycle in North Atlantic, Holocene and Glacial Climates
Evidence from North Atlantic deep sea cores reveals that abrupt shifts punctuated what is conventionally thought to have been a relatively stable Holocene climate. During each of these episodes, cool, ice-bearing waters from north of Iceland were advected as far south as the latitude of Britain. At about the same times, the atmospheric circulation above Greenland changed abruptly. Pacings of the Holocene events and of abrupt climate shifts during the last glaciation are statistically the same; together, they make up a series of climate shifts with a cyclicity close to 1470 +/-500 years. The Holocene events, therefore, appear to be the most recent manifestation of a pervasive millennial-scale climate cycle operating independently of the glacial-interglacial climate state. Amplification of the cycle during the last glaciation may have been linked to the North Atlantic’s thermohaline circulation. (William: The thermohaline hypothesis has been disproved. This paper notes there is a cycle. Other papers note there are cosmogenic isotope changes that correlate with the planetary temperature changes. The cosmogenic isotope changes are caused by solar magnetic cycle changes. The unknown is what is happening to the sun and the earth during these periods to cause the planetary temperature changes. It appears we will have an opportunity to observe a Bond event.)
List of Bond events
Most Bond events do not have a clear climate signal; some correspond to periods of cooling, others are coincident with aridification in some regions.
• ≈1,400 BP (Bond event 1) — roughly correlates with the Migration Period pessimum(450–900 AD)
• ≈2,800 BP (Bond event 2) — roughly correlates with the Iron Age Cold Epoch (900–300 BC)[8]
• ≈4,200 BP (Bond event 3) — correlates with the 4.2 kiloyear event
• ≈5,900 BP (Bond event 4) — correlates with the 5.9 kiloyear event
• ≈8,100 BP (Bond event 5) — correlates with the 8.2 kiloyear event (significant cooling event)
• ≈9,400 BP (Bond event 6) — correlates with the Erdalen event of glacier activity in Norway,[9] as well as with a cold event in China.[10]
• ≈10,300 BP (Bond event 7) — unnamed event
• ≈11,100 BP (Bond event 8) — coincides with the transition from the Younger Dryas to the boreal
Reduced solar activity as a trigger for the start of the Younger Dryas?
http://www.falw.vu/~renh/pdf/Renssen-etal-QI-2000.pdf
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379198000882
“The role of solar forcing upon climate change”
“A number of those Holocene climate cooling phases… most likely of a global nature (eg Magney, 1993; van Geel et al, 1996; Alley et al 1997; Stager & Mayewski, 1997) … the cooling phases seem to be part of a millennial-scale climatic cycle operating independent of the glacial-interglacial cycles (which are) forced (perhaps paced) by orbit variations.”
“… we show here evidence that the variation in solar activity is a cause for the millennial scale climate change.”
Last 40 kyrs
Figure 2 in paper. (From data last 40 kyrs)… “conclude that solar forcing of climate, as indicated by high BE10 values, coincided with cold phases of Dansgaar-Oeschger events as shown in O16 records”
Recent Solar Event
“Maunder Minimum (1645-1715) “…coincides with one of the coldest phases of the Little Ice Age… (van Geel et al 1998b)
Periodicity
“Mayewski et al (1997) showed a 1450 yr periodicity in C14 … from tree rings and …from glaciochemicial series (NaCl & Dust) from the GISP2 ice core … believed to reflect changes in polar atmospheric circulation..”

Keith Gordon

grumpyoldmanuk says:
January 27, 2013 at 1:31 pm
Geomorphology (from Greek: γῆ, ge, “earth”; μορφή, morfé, “form”; and λόγος, logos, “study”) is the scientific study of landforms and the processes that shape them.(wiki) While all information is useful, I’m not clear how a knowledge of Geomorphology is directly pertinent to understanding the variability of climate. (no snark intended).
My understanding of Geomorphology is the study of the weathering of the earths surface, an understanding of climate and it’s effects on the earth is essential. That’s how I got interested in climate originally.
Regards Keith Gordon

alex the skeptic

murfomurf says:
January 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm
Some 110 years ago, Dorothea Mackellar wrote a very beautiful poem ab out Australia which actually tells us a lot about the dire and extreme climatic conditions Oz was going through in those times, 110 years ago
My Country
.I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!
A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.
Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.
Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold –
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.
An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

John Bell

I tell you 2007 was very dry in Michigan, USA and that summer I hid two camoflaged duffle bags of camping gear in a local park and I would on a saturday go there camp out on the sly, and the gear never got musty waiting for me. 2012 was quite dry also in the summer. I would have taken some of that British rain here last year!

Dr Norman Page says:
January 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm
Phil Bradley – Prediction based on perceived past patterns most certainly is science – The human brain is much better than computers at perceiving patterns. A good empirical correlation is the fastest path towards sorting out and understanding the underlying mechanisms.

We are indeed good at recognizing patterns, including patterns that aren’t there. The likely reason is to avoid predators, it is better to have a lot of false positives, the cost of which is small, than to have a false negative, where the cost is high – you get eaten.
Otherwise, I could have phrased my point better.
A prediction is only a scientific prediction when it derives from a theory that specifies cause. If you don’t know what causes a pattern, you can’t say whether that pattern will continue or not.
I’ll also note that the Prof. Lane’s prediction may be based on regression to the mean, which is a perfectly valid basis for prediction, and the rest is from the PR writer.

G P Hanner

So. Wet monsoon rather than dry monsoon.

John Ratcliffe

It could be that predicting the level of flooding is not as simple as it once was. Ignoring the written record, as seems to be modern practice anyway, look at the land instead. Looking at the older turnpike network of trunk roads in the UK, but not the recently ‘straightened’ bypass roads. In the rural areas, excepting the wider flood plains of the larger rivers, where a road follows a valley, it has positioned itself over many years of usage while getting to be established on the line of most efficient travel. These areas were less likely to turn to mud or collapse or cause grief to horses pulling carriages, coaches or wagons. Also the roads tended to be sheltered from the prevaling direction of bad weather by being in the lee of hills or woods. This last being the choice of those driving the vehicles. By a natural evolution process, these roads ended up in the best possible positions with regard to flooding, and weather protection. So anyone building below these roads would be considered ‘temporary’. Roads across valleys would be built on causeways if important, if not, they would be ‘seasonal’.
Flood plains are easy to identify, fairly flat land next to a river, below a main road. Don’t build there!

Ah! It isn’t that “children just aren’t going to know what snow is,”
but adults forgot what flooding is.

Michael Lewis in Sydney Australia

As someone at the end of my seventh decade, I marvel at the declarations of the hottest ever or coldest ever or wettest ever put out by climate “scientists” / climate leeches (called Climate Commissioners – they don’t even see the parallel in Commisars – by our totalitarian leaning government) and the alarmist press. We have recently had a “record breaking” hot day (currently, a couple of weeks later we are having cool “summer” heavy rain) where the scope of the recording period has been truncated to relatively modern times and the original measurements adjusted and the so called record was still only a fraction of a degree celsius different. (Read the Watkin Tench story here for part of the officially ignored record). At best, our records start at the end of January 1788.
What I do remember clearly, is that in Sydney, winter is (on average) always cooler than summer and the days are shorter. Apart from that, if I use Christmas Day as a datum, the temperature on that day, in my life has varied from mid teens (celsius) to 40s. The wetness on that day has varied from non-stop light to heavy rain (I can think of one Xmas day when it rained for almost 8 hours straight), to the searing, burning dry, North Westerly (ex desert) wind driven variety.
O f course we fondly remember those “typical” days when the sky is cloudless, the temperature is mid to high 20s and the sea breeze is gentle. We’ve had a good share of those this summer in Sydney but also a good share of every other sort of day. But “the average person” often does not store these memories with much precision, so that if an ill educated reporter (almost all) or politician or a noble cause corrupted “scientist” makes a declaration that the end is nigh and that it is now much hotter or much colder or much wetter than ever before, they will accept these bold claims at face value and as we have seen, the politicians may embark on lunatic schemes to cure the “problem”.
The real problem is summed up as “human nature” – or “the (intelligence) bell curve” – or a combination.
In these blogs we spend most of our time trying to untangle the way human nature seems to have muddled the minds of those who appear to be at the pointy end of the distribution, yet cannot see the nose on their face. And on the other blogs, we also have vast numbers of people who have transferred their allegiance from the traditional “holy writ” to the modern green version, and who use the same appeal to authority and the same Calvinist/Inquisitorial approach.
And knaves will still approve/develop/sell floodplain blocks to naive buyers – or as in Brisbane today, as people are flooded for the second time in 2 years, people will keep “re-applying” to be flooded out and expect insurers and governments – which means the rest of us have to pay for their stupidity.

The positive phase of the AMO also explains Arctic Ocean ice melt – warmer waters flowing into the Arctic causes less ice formation.
Stephen Rasey – I would say that developers ignored floodplains in a quest to provide homes, etc., for floodplains are easily identifiable. Out here in western USA the pioneers, studying the local geography, knew where to locate homes, farms, and ranches to avoid being flooded out.

Evan Thomas

Further greetings from Oz. Dorothea Mackellar knew a great deal more about Australia’s weather than some of your posters, I’m only a young chap – 84 – but recent weather events have all happened before in my lifetime. Breaking records? Treat such claims with suspicion. Remember we haven’t been here for very long in the scheme of things. Cheers from soggy Sydney.

Phil Bradley You say
“A prediction is only a scientific prediction when it derives from a theory that specifies cause. If you don’t know what causes a pattern, you can’t say whether that pattern will continue or not.”
This statement is untrue on every level – the great advances of Baconian empirical science since the seventeenth century are based on induction from observation not on deduction from some imagined theory. Check on Bacons four idols one of which is discussed in the link given earlier..
As an example earlier civilisations were able to predict eclipses with useful accuracy without having any realistic theory of why they were occurring.
In modern times quantum theory doesn’t specify any “Causes” but is able to calculate probable outcomes very accurately. see
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130124-will-we-ever-get-quantum-theory/1

catweazle666

Oh, thank Heavens for that.
Looks like we can confidently expect nice dry barbecue summers for the next few years then

Bruce of Newcastle

murfomurf says:
January 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm

murfomurf – A short time ago on the (Oz government broadcaster) ABC lunchtime TV news they had a BoM lady on, who said the three day rainfall totals in the northern NSW coastal region have not been this much since 1974. Where I am its raining steadily, though we here are only on the southern fringes of the system.
I remember 1974 well, since I used to attend Macksville high school, and we couldn’t get to the school for a week because of the floodwaters. Schoolkids think this is just the best thing!
Noteworthy at that time solar cycle 20 was the weakest of the last 60 years and the PDO was in the cool phase. We are again in cool phase PDO and again weak solar activity. Whether this is the cause of the weather I keep an open mind, but history is a useful learning precedent.